Update : Changes We Would Make To The Floor Plan
I have received requests to see a floor plan of our house. Then a reader requested to see the changes we would make if I built another house by this plan. The second plan contains the changes marked in red. When I first posted this floorplan, I failed to mark that the narrow structure off the kitchen area is above ground, and the former owner expanded it into a 14 x 16 ft. combo greenhouse/screenhouse. He kept the dirt floor and actually tried to grow plants in the soil. Today the trees have grown up around it and it is too shady to use for plants except for the winter. Our chickens have confiscated it for their abode, and do quite well in there, since we’ve abandoned our plans to make it into a sunroom.
First, we would move the HVAC system from the middle of the great room to one of the closets in the utility room between the bedrooms . I would leave the closet in the great room for added storage that would be lost in the utility room. The reason I would relocate the HVAC unit is because noise of the fan and motor interfere with our watching television or carrying on a conversation in the living room part of the house. The only drawback to this is that in cold weather, the fan unit draws in warm air from the heating stove on the opposite wall and moves it throughout the house.
Tour This Amazing Rammed Earth Home Nestled In The Texas Hill Country
Filed Under: Architecture
Jobe Corral Architects is responsible for the design of this rammed earth home that is all about the connection to the land, set in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, in Blanco, Texas. This 3,592 square foot structure is integrated into its surroundings, which are composed of majestic oak trees, open views, and a slice of the river.
In this setting, it is essential to seek protection from the elements the sun, strong winds, and flooding rains. This need for the most basic form of shelter, plus the owners love of the land, drove the concept and design of this project called River Ranch. The program is laid out in a courtyard plan, which is formed by the main house, the guest wing, and the pool.
DESIGN DETAILS: ARCHITECTURE Jobe Corral Architects CONTRACTOR Pilgrim Building Company STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Leap!Structures LIGHTING DESIGN Studio Lumina LANDSCAPE Environmental Energy Consulting ENERGY CONSULTANT Positive Energy
The outer layer of the courtyard is made of 2 thick rammed earth walls that appear to emerge from the land and form a protective shell for the interior of the building. The color and texture of the rammed earth blend the walls to its surroundings while creating a strong anchor on the site.
Tell Us: What do you think of the overall design details in this home? Are there any elements you would change? Let us know in the Comments below!
Casey Dunn and Casey Woods
The Cats Really Enjoy Living Here
So did our dog, who sadly died at close to age 14. I think they actually relate to their ancestors who lived in caves and underground burrows. When they were young, they freely roamed the hillside, but after some coyotes invaded the area between our house and the river, all pets were confined to the house.
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Our Experience In An Earth
Eighteen years ago, we moved into an earth-sheltered dome home built into a hillside. We were so excited! It was really lovely inside, and surprisingly well-illuminated with natural light. Our house has approximately 2,500 square feet, including three bedrooms, two baths, and an oversized garage. The rooms are large and spacious, with 14-foot domed ceilings.
The domes and floor of our underground house are built from poured concrete reinforced with rebar. Out front, an atrium can be accessed by a staircase that is just the width of the driveway from the street. Large windows on the east side of bedrooms front the atrium and let in more daylight than a typical traditional home built during that time period. The garage is on the opposite side of the atrium.
Out back is a 14 X 14 greenhouse and decks on three levels with a south view of the Arkansas River and a line-of-sight view of the Arkansas State Capitol on the hill across the river. The large south-facing windows and patio doors of the great room lead out to the greenhouse and two of the decks. A half-domed third bedroom has a window wall that shares the same views. The third deck can be accessed from the rooftop and was built on top of the greenhouse.
We were in Hog Heavenliterally. After all, this is the Razorbacks home state.
Our beautiful view.
Is It Worth It
Do the positives outweigh all the problems we encounter? No. If we ever get rid of this albatross, would we ever again consider living in an underground house? Definitely. But we would carefully select the site and supervise the construction every step of the way. And, oh yes, it would have to be in a dry climate!
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Underground Dome Home Near Buffalo Texas
The entrance to the underground Monolithic Dome home in Buffalo, Texas is located just off a walkway leading to a deck overlooking a pond. The dome itself is hidden from view beneath the natural landscape of this rural property.
Sky High Perspective
Everything about this Monolithic Dome home is unique. Firstly, It is completely invisible and totally underground. Secondly, the interior has been completely painted in whimsical and beautiful art by the Houston, Texas artist, James Perez.
This underground Monolithic Dome house has an open floor plan with large kitchen, living, and dining spaces. It boasts 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and 3 bonus rooms, along with tons of closets and storage space. Foyers and tunnels add drama to this home where safety and security are no longer concerns.
The entire interior of this unusual home is festooned with colorful murals. Pictured here is part of the great room which includes the front door, the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room.
In addition to the 3,000 square foot home, this property has two utility sheds, two workshops or distribution centers totaling 7,500 square feet, and a garage that could be easily converted into two stories.
In 2003, HGTV featured this luxury Monolithic Dome home on a special they did about underground homes.
Earth Tx Real Estate & Homes For Sale
- Brokered byScott Land Co., LlcFor Sale
- Brokered byUnited Country Real Estate|M. Edwards Realty and LandNew
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Learn More About Earth Texas
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Things We Loved About Our Underground House
I dont want people to get the impression that this article is only a rant. I do dearly love living underground. I’m just trying to warn people of the problems that the advertisers dont want you to know so you wont get unrealistic expectations the way we did.
We enjoy so many things about living underground:
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Why We Don’t Like Our Underground House
Unfortunately, our enthusiasm didn’t last more than a couple of years. Our dream home was less than perfect and certainly didn’t live up to the hype from the advertising brochures.
Bear in mind that this house is in the price range of typical underground homes. It is not a staged million-dollar display home that you might see in many brochures and websites. Our underground house cost close to $150,000 to build and finish back in 1986, which is above the median price of a conventional home in our state in the 1980s.
This is our true story. I don’t want to imply that all underground houses are like ours. I truly hope that they are not. Did we get a lemon? If so, we have not been able to make lemonade.
Palms: When To Prune When Not To Prune
Trying to find the source of one leak.
We probably have the only house in Arkansas with stalactites on the ceiling. Honestly. Red earth from the top of our house runs down the ceiling and living room wall. Ive joked about building a waterfall in the living room to divert the water.
Despite all repairs, the leaks continued to spread. While making the repairs, we discovered that the house had experienced leaks even before we bought it. The previous owner had jack-legged the repairs and smoothed them over just long enough to unload the house on naïve buyers like us.
We consulted an attorney, but he said the discovery came too late to hold the previous owner or the realtor responsible or charge them with fraud.
Would insurance fix it? Not with all the pre-existing problems that were hidden from us. The specifications for the house state that the skin is a tar modified polyurethane elastomer that is applied as a liquid and forms a bonded synthetic rubber membrane will permit the membrane to span ordinary shrinkage cracks up to 1/16 inch.
We found it to be as effective as the Bentonite clay. An ordinary house settles more than 1/16 inch in its lifetime, which renders a glorified tar roof basically useless. These same specifications come with a disclaimer at the end. In our case, it appears that the subcontractor would have been the one legally liable. Doesn’t give an owner much confidence, does it?
We installed bentonite clay to prevent leaks from the corner above the atrium.
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People Invade Our Privacy
This came as a surprise. Some people treat our home like a public park. The same people who would never invade your front yard or sit on your front porch without an invitation take for granted that there is no visible property above ground! Nervy neighbors use our roof as a putting greenor a sand trap. We have a gallon bucket of golf balls theyve lostretrieved mostly from the woods below the house.
Snowy scene from our third deck.
Its Difficult To Spot The Home On This Plot Of 40 Acres Near Buffalo Tx Which Is Exactly The Way The Owner Wants It: The Home Is Entirely Underground
Its difficult to spot the home on this plot of 40 acres near Buffalo, TX. Which is exactly the way the owner wants itthe home is entirely underground.
It’s completely covered by earth, says the listing agent, Terri Alexander.
I’m not sure that I know of another one like this in Texas, not completely underground, the way this one is. Its different. It’s going to take somebody very eclectic that wants to purchase a housebecause it is out there.
Listed for $2.25 million, the residence consists of a series of five interconnected dome homes covered with dirt. It measures in at 3,000 square feet, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
It was built in 1999, and its owner, Glenn Young, wanted both privacy and to prove a point to the folks at Monolithic Domes. Alexander told us the Monolithic Institute recommended against putting dome homes underground.
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Our House Depreciated In Value
The depreciation was shocking! Our house depreciated faster than a mobile home or an automobile. We should have been forewarned when we were able to purchase the house for $45,000 less than the cost to build it. During the housing boom, we watched the other houses in the neighborhood increase in valuemany doubling in pricewhile we sat here holding the equivalent of rent receipts.
A mama groundhog and her brood tore up this flowerbed, but we don’t have the heart to evict them.
Limited Access For Repairs
The ductwork is made from ordinary materials that dont hold up underground. The duct boots have rusted through and need replacing. We are not sure if we are even able to access the ductwork to attach the new boots. The plenum of galvanized steel rusted through after 12 years and collapsed into the hole, taking the central HVAC unit with it.
We replaced the plenum with one built with ¼ in. stainless steel. Since no sheet metal shop in the area would build a stainless steel plenum, we fashioned and built it ourselves. Then, we installed a larger central AC and blower, completely forgoing the central heating unit. Fortunately, my husbands repertoire of skills allowed him to handle the installation, so it cost us less than $2,000 total.
Back of house in autumn. The hill is too dangerously steep to landscape.
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